As a Bitcoin evangelist I like to introduce Bitcoin to my friends, and if possible even get them involved by having them own a few coins themselves.

The settlement of a personal debt through Bitcoin would be the perfect excuse to give someone their first coins. Who hasn't balanced expenses with their friends after a night on the town? Why not gain some new Bitcoin users in the process!

So, is there a way to securely set someone up with a new wallet and transfer some BTC to that wallet at the same time, without requiring any action from the receiving party?Ideally, the BTC.USD exchange rate is taken into account because such debts are unlikely to be denominated in BTC already.

Imagine the following conversation taking place:

Alice: I've paid the restaurant $100. So Bob, you now owe me $50.

Bob: Is it OK if I pay in Bitcoins?

Alice: Sure, but how does that work?

Bob: Don't worry, I'll just [PERFORM_MAGIC] so you'll have the equivalent amount of BTC in a brand new wallet straight away.

I can think of the following (slow, complex, frustration-prone) process to substitute PERFORM_MAGIC with:

  1. Bob emailing some custom instructions telling Alice to install a Bitcoin client
  2. Alice following these instructions and possibly having problems with the process
  3. Alice emailing Bob her receiving address
  4. Bob transferring the coins to Alice.

Is there a way that requires less interaction, preferably accessible from my phone?

  • 1
    I sure wish you owed me $50 back in 2012 and I had the foresight to keep around the ~11 BTC as BTC. :)
    – Tim S.
    Jan 29, 2014 at 21:37

5 Answers 5


I would suggest starting a wallet at My Wallet (blockchain.info).

  • It's dead simple, all you have to provide is a password
  • You don't have to enter any personal info about the person that you want to give the wallet to.
  • As opposed to e.g. Instawallet your friend can change that password so that you no longer have access to the wallet.
  • It is "mobile friendly" so you can do it from your phone, as you requested
  • It has a sleek and professional look so it won't scare away new users
  • 2
    I realize now that this might look like an ad for My Wallet so just to be clear - I'm in no way affiliated with the site.
    – D.H.
    Feb 15, 2012 at 14:09

Simply print out a paper wallet "check" using BitAddress and fund it.

It includes their public key (on the left) and the private key (on the right) allowing them to "deposit" the funds into a Javascript wallet (such as My Wallet) or into an account on an exchange (Mt. Gox, for example). Version 0.6.0 of the official Bitcoin client will also allow them to import the private key into their own wallet using the importprivkey <bitcoinprivkey> [label] bitcoind command.

If they don't personally want to redeem the check they can trade the slip of paper with someone else who does.

Of course, there is the risk is that the code is exposed and any party that sees the code could spend it. But if you are describing transaction of just a few dollars, and given as gifts or payments to friends then a check like this works quite well.

A simple alternative is to provide the URL for an InstaWallet that you've funded.


Set them up with an account on an exchange

You pop over to an exchange, make a new account, deposit the appropriate amount in BTC and then securely provide them with the account credentials. They are then able to either cash out (and experience the joy of fiat) or get themselves a Bitcoin client and contribute to the growing Bitcoin economy.


You could open them an account at a web-based wallet (such as StrongCoin or MyWallet), and send the coins there.

Of course, they are supposed to generate a new address themselves later and move the coins there.


Give them a few physical bitcoins from Casascius or BitBills.

  • 1
    For the stated purpose of evangelism I don't see why this warrants a -1. +1 from me. Sep 15, 2012 at 12:42

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